President Donald Trump’s former acting chief of staff and current special envoy to Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney on Thursday said he has resigned from his post after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol.
“I called [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I would be resigning from that. I just can’t do it. I can’t stay,” Mulvaney said in an interview with CNBC, citing the Trump-inspired riot.
"The president of the United States went on stage and said go march down the street and invade the Capitol, and they did," Mulvaney said.
Mulvaney, a key figure in the Trump impeachment proceedings who defied a congressional subpoena to testify about what he knew, told CNBC that when he was acting chief of staff "the president never asked us to do anything unethical or certainly illegal.”
"Clearly, he is not the same as he was eight months ago, and certainly the people advising him are not the same as they were eight months ago, and that leads to a dangerous sort of combination as you saw yesterday," Mulvaney said.
He acknowledged his resignation is "a nothing thing." "It doesn’t affect the outcome, it doesn’t affect the transition, but it’s what I’ve got, and it’s a position I really enjoy doing, but you can’t do it,” he said.
Mulvaney said he has spoken with other friends in the administration and expected others to leave in the next day or two.
“Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with a couple of them, are choosing to stay because they’re concerned the president might put someone in to replace them that could make things even worse,” Mulvaney said.
On Wednesday, Melania Trump's chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, a former White House press secretary, left her post, as did deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews. Social secretary Rickie Niceta stepped down as well, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.
On Thursday, Jerome Marcus, a lawyer who worked on behalf of the Trump campaign in a lawsuit involving Pennsylvania's election, asked to withdraw as an attorney on the case.
In a letter to the judge, Marcus wrote, “the client [Trump] has used the lawyer’s services to perpetrate a crime and the client insists upon taking action that the lawyer considers repugnant and with which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement.”
The letter did not elaborate on the allegations. The underlying case centered on a Trump campaign complaint that poll watchers were not allowed to view the counting of votes in Philadelphia. At an emergency hearing in November, Marcus acknowledged to the judge that there had been a "non-zero number" of poll watchers in the room. "I'm sorry, then what's your problem?" the judge responded.
The judge ultimately denied the campaign's bid to stop the vote count and worked out a compromise between elections officials and the campaign about how many observers were allowed inside.
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Mulvaney became Trump's acting chief of staff in late 2018 after the president announced that John Kelly was resigning. Trump replaced Mulvaney in March, appointing then-U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., in his place. Mulvaney has also previously served as a U.S. representative from South Carolina and director of Trump's Office of Management and Budget.
“I can’t stay here, not after yesterday," he said in the interview Thursday. "You can’t look at that yesterday and think I want to be a part of that."
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